Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Reflecting on Current Events and Our Work

Towards the end of Elul someone wanted to donate an item to our Bayit Chadash Gemach and asked a number of questions about who we assist. When she heard that we focus on assisting orphans, currently at the time they marry, she asked where the Chatanim and Kallot come from and why they are orphans. As a suggestion she asked if they were from broken homes, perhaps taken away from their parents? This is a question we get often. Sadly, too many can not understand why or how someone can be without parents at whatever stage of their development that the loss of their parents occurred. Many can not understand the difficulties or struggles of one who is an orphan. Some get angry with me and say someone whose parents died is not in need of help, they must learn to help themselves, or so I get told. I also get asked, why do we specifically give new items to the Chatanim and Kallot we assist.

Over the past few days, 14 children became orphans in sudden and tragic circumstances. Today, people pay attention. Tomorrow people pay attention, but the attention will be short lived. Having worked in a hospital treating the victims of all kinds of accidents, and all kinds of acts of mans inhumanity to man, I know only too well that the visitors are many in the first few days, there are still visitors for a few weeks, but gradually those who are inquisitive loose interest and move on with their lives. The one who has been injured or has lost a loved one has to face this reality from now on for the rest of their lives. 

Though I do agree that there are children who are removed from their parents and there are people who die of illnesses, we have many tragedies that take place, especially here in Israel. These tragedies are a sad and powerful illustration of how children or teenagers become orphans and why they might require assistance at various stages of their lives.

Do you stop and think about what happens to the surviving relatives of the various disasters the various Piguim that happen in Israel? Whether it's a bomb on a bus, a soldier lost in war, an attack on a car or on sleeping parents with most of their children, the surviving relatives are left with a great loss.

Who will be there for them to see them off to school on the first day after the Yomim Tovim? I do not mean just this week as the families are involved in sitting Shiva, but every Yom Tov from now on. Who will be there to celebrate their achievements, guide them as they travel the journey of life? Who will be there to prepare the various Smachot, whether it be a birthday, Bar / Bat Mitzvah or a wedding, birth of a child? Who will be there to be the grandparents to their children and to have pleasure from each milestone achieved as the next generation comes into being?

Most people do not internalize the enormity of this loss. Even if the grandparents and other relatives of these orphans have the finances that these children will not lack materially, there is still a loss that can not be replaced. Knowing first hand the heartache of the orphan, we at Chessed Ve'Emet are concerned about the orphan. Our centre is small at present but our goals are many. If you would like to learn more about the services that we offer or to receive our newsletter, please be in touch.

We offer our condolences to the families of those who have died Al Kiddush HaShem and hope and pray that we will merit a time where there will be no more orphans, no more heartache. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Turning the Darkness to Light

The foods that we eat on Rosh HaShanah are symbolic of the year we will have ahead of us. One of these fruits typically eaten on Rosh HaShanah is the pomegranate. This year shopping for yummy looking pomegranates was quite a challenge. It has been quite a lesson to watch the decrease in quality of fruits and vegetables as the Shmita year draws to an end. There definitely is something special about the land of Israel and the fruits grown in Israel by Jews attest to it. 

As we looked at one tiny pomegranate after another, suddenly I noticed one that looked a little larger, a little redder and perfect in shape. Happy with my pomegranate, I took care of it for a few days eagerly awaiting the Jewish New Year to cut it open and make a blessing on the tasty fruit. 

To my dismay, when I cut it open the inside was black. My heart sank. Please, it can not be that a bad year is ahead. 

A friend on FaceBook kindly said this is the readiness for growth. 

Well, we went visiting a neighbour and managed to obtain pink and white pomegranate seeds and a few delicious dates thrown in for good measure. Rosh HaShanah was a special time despite the heat, but looking at the news makes my heart sink once more.

The only thing I can think of is to increase in acts of kindness and so I appeal to any caring Jew reading this post to please, visit our updated campaign, share it with your friends, make a donation and help us to turn the darkness to light and good and kindness and truth. We need a sweet year. Together we can change it for good.

If you are wondering how to access the campaign click on the highlighted words and it will take you to the page.  Or you can visit our website and see the progress.

Thank you for your kindness. May the year ahead be sweet and wonderful.

Shoshanah Shear

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Everything Has a Purpose

I have just opened up a bag of items that came in to our Gemach in order to begin our section for renting out items for Schtick to use at weddings. The above image shows a basket of colourful fun to bring joy to Jewish brides at their wedding. We have:
- pink and white silk flower chains (lei)
- multi colour silk flower chains (lei)
- red and yellow silk flower chains (lei)
- flashing bracelets
- shakers with balls inside that glow or provide flashing light

The last item could be a problem for me to come into the room of our Gemach / store and see these flashing lights so I thought of what I can drape over the basket that wont cause a problem to anyone with sensory problems or for me when working in the room. Suddenly I remembered an item sitting with the arts and crafts things that I have been wondering for years how to use. 

Years ago when I was working at Groote Schuur Hospital in South Africa all of the occupational therapists in the department at the time sewed a special square to make up a quilt. I forget at the moment what we made this for, I think to raffle as a fundraiser, but that detail for the moment escapes me. One of the squares was made into a cushion cover and all the OT's who contributed to the quilt had the opportunity to win the cushion cover. I was blessed with winning it, except for one problem. The shape is a little different to the regular fillers for hand made cushions. I have not managed to find one suitable and so the beautiful cushion cover has been neatly folded waiting for the right time to be used. 

I am so happy to say I found the perfect use for it? 

As you can see in the above photograph, it covers the basket of items for Schtick perfectly and now the flashing shakers will only be seen when worked with or at a wedding. 

What a powerful lesson. All it takes is a little patience and creativity and it is possible to find a good purpose for everything.

Have a blessed day and be in touch if you would like to rent items for Schtick for a wedding. Prices still being worked on, proceeds helps us to bring Simchah (joy) to orphan brides.

Shanah Tova U'Metukah


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